SUNY Chancellor King and Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Williams Launch Partnership to Encourage Every High School Senior to Apply to College

November 27, 2023

Chancellor and Superintendent Met Today with Students at PS 355 The New Buffalo School of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management

About 2,000 Personalized Letters to Be Mailed Next Week to Students Across the City of Buffalo; SUNY Application Fee Waivers Available to Most Buffalo Public Schools Seniors

Photos are Available Here

Buffalo, NY – State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. and Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Tonja M. Williams today launched a partnership to send personalized college application letters to every Buffalo high school senior. Starting next week, about 2,000 letters will be mailed across the City of Buffalo encouraging students to apply to college for Fall 2024.

Chancellor King and Superintendent Williams met with and hand-delivered letters to high school seniors from PS 355, The New Buffalo School of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management earlier today letting students know they have a place at SUNY.

This fall, SUNY is collaborating with public school systems and reaching out to students at college fairs and informational sessions to build awareness about how to apply to college and for available financial aid as part of Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State Agenda to eliminate barriers to higher education. SUNY offers all students at 500+ designated high-needs high schools statewide, including PS 355, The New Buffalo School of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management and 14 other Buffalo Public Schools high schools, the ability to apply to up to seven SUNY campuses for free, saving up to $350, throughout the year.

"There is a place at SUNY for every New Yorker, and it is an honor to collaborate with Superintendent Williams and Buffalo Public Schools to encourage more high school seniors to explore the excellence and affordability that SUNY offers," said SUNY Chancellor King. "My thanks to the students of PS 355 for sharing their vision for college and their career goals. SUNY campuses are eager to help Buffalo students achieve their college dreams."

Superintendent Williams said, "Chancellor King and Trustee Lewin truly understand that removing barriers to higher education is crucial to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to attain economic prosperity and develop into community leaders. Enabling Buffalo Public School seniors to apply for free to as many as seven SUNY schools will pay big dividends for years to come. Starting with the senior class at PS 355, The New Buffalo School of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management, all of our high school seniors will receive personalized college application letters explaining how to apply for a free high quality and affordable post-secondary education from a SUNY."

Chancellor and Superintendent were joined by SUNY Board Trustee Eunice A. Lewin, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Assembly Member William Conrad, University at Buffalo President Satish Tripathi, Buffalo State University Interim President Bonita Durand, Niagara County Community College President William Murabito, SUNY Erie Officer-in-Charge Adiam Tsegai, and Buffalo community members.

SUNY Board Trustee Eunice A. Lewin said, "Advocating for New York’s students has been my passion for nearly 50 years, and my fellow trustees, Chancellor King, and I will never stop working to increase excellent educational opportunities for them. That is why I am truly grateful to see the partnership between SUNY and Buffalo Public Schools to reach out to every high school senior across our city so they may discover the right college or university for them."

The letter from Chancellor King and Superintendent Williams includes information about SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and financial aid options. Currently, 53% of NYS full-time-resident undergraduate SUNY students attend tuition free thanks to the combination of state investment from the Excelsior Scholarship and the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) as well as federal and institutional aid. The simplified Free Application for Federal Student Aid is expected to launch in December. SUNY launched the SUNY FAFSA Completion Corps to help students complete the new federal application.

SUNY also has ongoing fee waivers that apply to 60 percent of all high school seniors, including students in foster care, from low-income households, or students with military connections. In addition, the application fee waiver applies to students on track to receiving an associate degree at a SUNY community college so they can apply to a bachelor’s degree granting SUNY campus. Last month, the SUNY Board of Trustees also approved an application fee waiver for all AmeriCorps alumni. For more information about ongoing application fee waiver programs, please visit this link.

University at Buffalo President Satish K. Tripathi said, "I am delighted to join SUNY Chancellor King and Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Williams for this exciting announcement. As the largest and most comprehensive public university system in the nation, SUNY is committed to providing access and opportunity. With today’s announcement, graduating students in the Buffalo Public Schools will be invited to explore the depth and breadth of SUNY’s academic programs, encouraging them to not only imagine the possibilities for their future but seize them."

Buffalo State University Interim President Bonita Durand said, "Buffalo State University is delighted to support this tremendous initiative along with SUNY and Buffalo Public Schools to help every student realize their goals of higher education. Buffalo State has a variety of academic programs to choose from, along with an exceptional Honors Program, Say Yes Buffalo partnership, and one of the most robust Educational Opportunity Programs in the state, all which provide valuable support services for our students. We thank the Chancellor, the SUNY Board of Trustees, and the Governor for advocating for this great partnership."

SUNY Erie Officer-in-Charge Adiam Tsegai said, "At a time when college may seem out of reach for many, SUNY's outreach to make every student aware of Guaranteed College Admission as well as the financial supports available, along with the excellence of SUNY, strives to change that narrative one student at a time. At SUNY Erie, we see the transformative power of education at work in the lives of our students every day. Chancellor King's outreach builds on those efforts perfectly, and we stand ready to support our shared mission to help Buffalo City students explore their options and create their own SUNY story."

 Niagara County Community College President William Murabito said, "SUNY has so much to offer to anyone with an educational goal. From skill building for careers in high-demand trades to pursuit of advanced degrees and from workforce development coursework to certificates that accelerate workers’ advancement, SUNY really does have it all. Helping students turn access into success has long been our tradition at Niagara County Community College. This is an exciting message to bring to high schools in Buffalo and across western New York."

To learn more about applying to SUNY, visit Applicants can apply at ApplySUNY or by using the Common App.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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